Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

So it's been at least a few months since march and have made good progress thru briggs tabs like 7 tunes left to master before it's wrap. It has been a blast and I took like fish to water. Very chunky, funky stuff.

At about half way thru briggs I began the converse yellow book, and was totally surprised by how "thumby" everything is. Thumb's doing stuff it wasn't doing in briggs however equally funky with a lil less chunk. I have been moving thru this guy at a slower pace since i have to read everything and it's not just a big book of tabs. I have also been converting each song into tab as i learn it so in the future i can rip thru it like i do briggs.

And the other day I began to dig into the winners primer and was so surprised by how "loopy" it is. makes me think of double dutch jump ropes in the sense that i cant think too much about what i'm doing or I mess up, get better results just doin the dang thing. a bit lacking in the funk and chunk departments for the most part but so very fun to play. Also after playing a few of the tunes enough i can kinda bring the funk and chunk as i see fit.

At first I was struck with this notion that briggs is the best. It might be because it's what I heard first. It was my gateway minstrel tutor, makes me wanna dance more. maybe i just love the congo prince jig. Still got to really dig into the rice book but in due time.

But I have come to appreciate the style variations a bit as of late as it keeps me from developing lazy patterns while playing. This thumb aint just for droning ya know. I also *really* enjoy playing the walk arounds.

Either way it's been a fun journey and all you guys n gals posting videos regularly on youtube have been a **huge** help.

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Joe Weidlich has a book out with the Converse Yellow in tab. He calls it More Minstrel Banjo. That might save you some time. WHile I prefer notation to tab, I use that Weidlich since the Yellow book doesn't just lay out the whole song.

Well that is a really good to know! I wanted all those books before i actually knew what a minstrel banjo even sounded like mainly cuz there was a fancy banjo being played on the cover haha. Kind of forgot about those books.

Someone needs a to make a big ol song book of lyrics :)

As you dig into each of the tutors it's really interesting to see how the arrangers really have their own distinctive styles.  I like them all for different reasons but I have a special fondness for the Briggs tutor, both because it's the first one I started fooling around and because the arrangements are all so fundamental; economic and straightforward but no less effective for it.  For me the tunes in Briggs' are feel like the "essence" of the stroke style from which all the later ones descended.  (At least, as far as we can know given the printed historical record, etc. etc.)

I agree completely. Looking at Rice, Buckley and COnverse has been fascinating a broadening, but I started with Briggs, and most at home there.

Andy Chase said:

As you dig into each of the tutors it's really interesting to see how the arrangers really have their own distinctive styles.  I like them all for different reasons but I have a special fondness for the Briggs tutor, both because it's the first one I started fooling around and because the arrangements are all so fundamental; economic and straightforward but no less effective for it.  For me the tunes in Briggs' are feel like the "essence" of the stroke style from which all the later ones descended.  (At least, as far as we can know given the printed historical record, etc. etc.)

so very well put, i get that feeling too just could put words to it. it makes me think of the old acronym KISS (keep it simple stupid) which i use for all sort of process like cooking, writing code, designing stuff


Andy Chase said:

... it's the first one I started fooling around and because the arrangements are all so fundamental; economic and straightforward but no less effective for it.  For me the tunes in Briggs' are feel like the "essence" of the stroke style from which all the later ones descended.  (At least, as far as we can know given the printed historical record, etc. etc.)

I wrote out the Yellow Converse in notation if anybody wants to take it for a spin.

That would be great, Tim!

I'd love to get my hands on that, Tim.

Tim,  I'd also love a copy.

Here it is. I did it a while ago when I recorded the music. I meant to get around to nit picky proofing but never did. It's pretty close however. Take a look. I may be missing a tune.

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Tim, you are a gentleman and a scholar!

(like)  ha ha

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